Article Summary

As UK expats residing in the US, one of the most important things to do is to figure out how to withdraw your UK pension to the US. One of the most efficient way, is to implement a pension-wrapper, known as SIPP. As you might have heard, there are two types of SIPP, UK SIPP and International SIPP. Both SIPPs have different benefits and regulations that you should be aware of. 

In this article, we will discuss both SIPP, as well as the top five questions asked us by our clients about the International SIPP. Debunking some myths and giving you as much information as you need if you’re considering a pension transfer to an International SIPP. Before we dive deeper answering the five questions, let’s watch an explanation by our CEO and Independent Financial Advisor, Dominic James Murray, in one of our YouTube video below.

International SIPP (iSIPP) – What is an International SIPP? | Top 5 Pension Scheme Questions

What Is an International SIPP and How Does It Differ From a UK SIPP?

To start off with, there is no technically an International SIPP. An International SIPP is still a UK SIPP. All SIPPs in the world must be registered, regulated and based out inside the UK. The differentiation between a UK SIPP as you could refer to it, for example AJ Bell, Fidelity, etc., and an International SIPP such as Novia Global and IPensions, is that an international SIPP is, generally speaking, catered towards working with people as non-UK residents.

For example, AJ Bell and Fidelity have 99% of their clients are in the United Kingdom. They don’t need to search for clients outside the UK because that’s their market, and they don’t need to focus on it. An International SIPP, however, will allow you to use your non-UK address to apply for. 99% of UK SIPP providers will not accept you as a new client if you do not have a UK address. You have to be a UK resident to work with the majority of UK SIPP.

To clarify, first of all, a UK SIPP and International SIPP is exactly the same thing. The International SIPP term is just used more as a marketing term to be focused on people who are no longer a UK resident, for instance, residing in the US.

What Is the Tax Difference Between a UK SIPP and an International SIPP?

Second question we get, what is the difference in taxation between a UK SIPP and an International SIPP. With a UK SIPP, you will be taxed at source, generally speaking, on any withdrawals you make from that SIPP.

In France, with an International SIPP, they understand that you are a non-UK resident if you apply for an NT tax code, which we can take you through the process and advise you how to do it. You can actually have that NT tax code applied to your International SIPP, meaning when you make your withdrawals they will be paid out to a 100% gross rate, and you will then declare any taxes that are required and withdrawals from your International SIPP in your country of residence at that point in time.

What Is the Cost of an International SIPP?

The next question we get a lot is about the cost. Generally, International SIPP providers can be slightly more expensive than a UK SIPP. Most UK SIPP providers will charge you for free if your assets are valued more than £100,000, because they will get the Assets Under Management (AUM). Some of them might charge £100-£200 pounds per UK SIPP.

In terms of International SIPP, the annual cost for a SIPP is around £180 or £200 each year, it’s a little bit more expensive in terms of running an International SIPP requires extra work such as NT tax codes and other things. So, the cost is very close if you have a very small pension pot or a relatively small pension pot.

The difference between a UK SIPP and an International SIPP could be quite sizeable because you might have £50 for the UK SIPP versus £200 for the International SIPP when you have a much larger pension pot. However, the International SIPP has benefits for you and allows you to have greater control and freedom over your money as a non-UK resident compared to a UK SIPP.

What Is the Difference Between UK SIPP and International SIPP Investment?

The fourth question we get is about investments. Is an International SIPP going to be invested in international stocks and equities, compared to a UK SIPP, which should be invested in safer assets like the UK-based? Absolutely not. 

At Cameron James, we advise UK SIPPs for UK resident clients. We advise non-UK SIPPs or international SIPPs for our non-UK resident clients. Typically speaking, the underlying portfolio that we use in the two is exactly the same. Meaning that it cost the same, same annualized return, same equity weighting, same funds, same asset management, both are completely identical.

So, there actually can be no difference in terms of the underlying performance of the two or what the assets might be invested in. Again, back to point three, the only difference is the International SIPP might have a slightly higher trustee fee on an annual basis compared to the UK SIPP.

What Happened to My International SIPP When I Returned to the United Kingdom?

The next question is the biggest question we get in terms of International SIPP versus UK SIPP. The question is, what happens if you then return to the UK with your International SIPP?

Actually, as we have stated from the beginning, your International SIPP is not International in structure. It is a UK and FCA regulated SIPP. As such, when you go back to the UK, you can continue holding your International SIPP. Every UK resident could apply for an International SIPP if they wish to and there are no specific requirements for them, though.

In Terms of Currency, What Is the Difference Between a UK SIPP and an International SIPP?

The final question that we’re going to answer is regarding the currency. Now, inside a UK SIPP, it can only be denominated in GBP, which is all fine if you live in the United Kingdom. It’s very highly unlikely that you would need Euro or USD or some other currency for your retirement because you plan to retire in the UK. Your costs are going to be in GBP.

Trust Your UK Pension Transfer with Cameron James

Now that we have answered most questions that we are asked for and debunking some myths, we believe that you still have questions in your mind about International SIPP. Let one of our IFAs help you to answer the question through a free initial consultation with us. Click the button on the right side to book yourself in and speak with one of our regulated IFAs.

We will put together a free advice report for you to understand in advance exactly which SIPP provider, SIPP or international SIPP that we would use the underlying cost and the underlying platform, annualized return, everything you need to know to make an informed decision before deciding to work with us.

Our Founder & CEO -
Dominic James Murray

I have been in the UK Pension Transfer industry for over 11 years, and have witnessed seismic changes in the UK Pension rules over the course of that decade. Most to the benefit of the UK Chancellor or to Chequer!

My 5 years as CEO of Cameron James, have certainly been the most rewarding. My goal, has been a simple one. Provide clients with transparent financial advice on a low-cost basis, for them to make informed decisions to protect their families best interests.

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